Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury

A total of 11 leaders sought ruling party nomination for Sylhet City Corporation’s mayoral post. The party’s local government nomination board has picked Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury, who is joint secretary of United Kingdom Awami League.

With the decision, all anticipation as to who will be the ruling party’s candidate for mayoral post in the election scheduled to be held on 21 June came to an end.

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Sylhet city AL’s president Masuk Uddin Ahmad told Prothom Alo that the number of aspirants for the mayor post was high as Awami League is a big party. But the party activists do not have any scope to go against the decision of the party leader. So everyone will have to work in unison for the party candidate.

Sylhet City Corporation was established in 2002. Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran contested as AL candidate in all four city election held since then. Kamran died from coronavirus on 15 June 2020. His death led to a fray for the ruling party nomination in the city. Many aspirants started campaigning declaring their wish to contest in the mayor post in Sylhet.

Anwaruzzaman burst into the scene declaring he has got the ‘green signal’ from the party after coming back to the country on 22 January. The other aspirants then tried to send a message to the party highups so that a local and seasoned leader is picked for the post. This led to discussion in the city as to whether an expatriate would get the AL nomination or someone from the local leaders would get the party ticket. Differences of opinion also arose among the leaders-activists of the party over the matter.

Local AL sources said Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury returned the country on 22 January morning. A big motorcade of thousands of AL men received him from Sylhet MAG Osmani Airport. Some influential AL leaders including central organizing secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury and Sylhet-3 constituency’s MP Habibur Rahman were among the leaders who received Anwaruzzaman.  He later called on AL president Sheikh Hasina and general secretary Obaidul Quader on 26 January. Anwaruzzaman’s name came to the fore after that.

An AL leader on condition of anonymity told Prothom Alo that Anwaruzzaman tried to get party nomination for Sylhet-2 constituency in last two parliamentary polls. Local leaders opposed Anwaruzzaman’s candidacy for mayor post since he is not involved with party politics in Sylhet city area and he is an expatriate. If other leaders now remain inactive during polls race, it would be tough for Anwaruzzaman to win.

AL sources said 10 other leaders who sought party nomination are: Awami League's former central organizing secretary Misbah Uddin, city AL’s vice presidents Asad Uddin Ahmed and Abdul Khaliq, general secretary Md Zakir Hossain, joint general secretaries ATM Hasan Zebul and Azadur Rahman, organising secretaries Arman Ahmed and Saleh Ahmed, member Prince Sadruzzaman Chowdhury and ward 7 AL’s member Mahi Uddin Ahmad Salim.

Contacted, city unit’s secretary Zakir Hossain congratulated Anwaruzzaman.

“I was one of the aspirants but failed to get party nomination. But we will work for the candidate picked by the party. The party leaders-activists will work unitedly to ensure his victory,” he added.

The election to Sylhet City Corporation would be held 21 June through Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).